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Trump down to five ‘mostly well-known’ and ‘really terrific’ contenders for chief of staff  

Jared Kushner was reported Thursday to have lobbied to become his father-in-law Donald Trump’s chief of staff.

The first son-in-law, already an adviser to the president with an office next to the Oval Office was reported by the Huffington Post to have pushed his own candidacy and been rewarded with a meeting Wednesday about the role.

He apparently claimed he could work with Democrats – a claim ridiculed by one of the sources for the report, who said: ‘I don’t know why he thinks that, when the Democrats are mainly going to be coming after Trump.’

Kushner’s potential candidacy emerged shortly after the president claimed he had five candidates who actually want the job fighting it out.  

Trump did not say who the five are, although he is believed to be considering Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin for the powerful position.

‘Five people. Really good ones. Terrific people. Mostly well known, but terrific people,’ Trump told reporters on Thursday.

The claim was met with skepticism in wider Washington D.C. given that Trump pushed out John Kelly without a successor in place, then got turned down by his first choice. 

President Trump claims he has narrowed his shortlist for chief of staff down to five 'terrific people' who seemingly want the job he's had trouble filling  - but it is Jared Kushner who has lobbied for the job it emerged Thursday

President Trump claims he has narrowed his shortlist for chief of staff down to five ‘terrific people’ who seemingly want the job he’s had trouble filling  – but it is Jared Kushner who has lobbied for the job it emerged Thursday

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly attends a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump and Governors-elects in the Cabinet Room at the White House on Thursday.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly attends a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump and Governors-elects in the Cabinet Room at the White House on Thursday.

Kelly  - seen at the door to the Cabinet Room Thursday - wanted to leave at the end of the year but will stay through the holidays, the White House has since said

Kelly  – seen at the door to the Cabinet Room Thursday – wanted to leave at the end of the year but will stay through the holidays, the White House has since said

A White House statement on Wednesday said that Trump ruled out North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows (left) for the top White House position. He has not ruled out Mick Mulvaney, the Office of Management and Budget director (right). The two men are seen on the left and right respectively

A White House statement on Wednesday said that Trump ruled out North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows (left) for the top White House position. He has not ruled out Mick Mulvaney, the Office of Management and Budget director (right). The two men are seen on the left and right respectively

As for Kushner’s apparent power play, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders claimed to be blindsided by it but appeared to suggest it was a real possibility.

‘I’m not aware that he’s under consideration but as I think all of us here would recognize he will be great in any role the president chooses to put him in,’ she said.

‘He has tremendous job on a number of front whether it was on trade or what we saw play out in the last week on criminal justice reform.’But Trump told the only Republican openly expressing interest in the job that he wants him to stay in Congress yesterday afternoon.

A White House statement on Wednesday said that Trump ruled out North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows for the top White House position.

‘Congressman Mark Meadows is a great friend to President Trump and is doing an incredible job in Congress. The President told him we need him in Congress so he can continue the great work he is doing there,’ White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said. 

The announcement makes it anyone’s guess as to who Trump will select to be his next chief of staff after suddenly announcing the job was coming available.

His plans were turned upside down when Trump’s first pick for the position, Nick Ayes, unexpectedly turned the president’s proposition down.

The White House subsequently said that Kelly would be staying on until early January ‘at least’ to the manage the West Wing while the president conducts his search for a replacement. 

Politico reported on Monday that Meadows, a leading pro-Trump Republican congressman, was interested in the gig that nobody else seems to want.  

‘Serving as Chief of Staff would be an incredible honor. The President has a long list of qualified candidates and I know he’ll make the best selection for his administration and for the country,’ he told the publication. 

The White House told the publication Wednesday that the president asked the congressman who had a double-digit victory in November to remain his position in the House. Meadows is the House Freedom Caucus chairman.  

The president claimed Tuesday that more than 10 people were competing for the chief of staf job but none appears to be in the lead and it is unclear how much any of them actually wants to do it.

‘We are in no rush. Over a period of a week or two or maybe less we’ll announce who it’s going to be, but we have a lot of people who want the position,’ Trump said in a Oval Office meeting with Democratic leaders on Tuesday morning that Kelly attended.

He said, ‘A lot of friends of mine want it. A lot of people that Chuck and Nancy know very well want it, I think people you’d like,’ Trump said, talking up the post. ‘We have a lot of people that want the job of chief of staff. So we’ll be seeing what happens. We’re in no rush.’

Kellyanne Conway told reporters this week that  Kelly will stay on as chief of staff 'at least' through the beginning of the year

Kellyanne Conway told reporters this week that Kelly will stay on as chief of staff ‘at least’ through the beginning of the year

The reason, Trump said: ‘Because we have a wonderful chief of staff right here.’

Trump confirmed what counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway slipped into an appearance on ‘Fox & Friends’ on Tuesday morning – just days after the White House said Kelly’s tenure was nearly over.

‘He will stay on the job through January 2nd at least, and I think there were will be a very peaceful and pragmatic transition to the next chief of staff,’ Conway said. ‘But the president has many people who want to serve here.’

Later in the day, the president held a bill signing in the Oval Office that Mulvaney and Meadows were a part of. The two men allegedly competing for the same job who worked closely together in Congress stood side by side as the president talked.

By Wednesday afternoon, the White House had announced that Meadows, at least, was out of the running.  

The public unraveling of Trump’s search is already provoking ridicule among Democrats.  

Nick Ayers (L), chief of staff to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, announced he is leaving the White House rather than succeeding White House Chief of Staff John Kelly

Nick Ayers (L), chief of staff to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, announced he is leaving the White House rather than succeeding White House Chief of Staff John Kelly

CONTENDERS FOR TRUMP CHIEF OF STAFF WHO AREN’T RELATED TO HIM

Steven Mnuchin: Treasury secretary who has a previous relationship going back with Trump to when they were both businessmen in New York; Trump attended his wedding

 Mick Mulvaney: A former House member who joined Trump’s administration to lead the budget office; he has pushed the president to the right fiscally

Robert Lighthizer: As U.S. Trade Rep. Lighthizer has pushed Trump to talk tough on trade, particularly in recent negotiations with China 

Matt Whitaker: Trump named him acting attorney general after Jeff Session left the top job at Justice and is said to get on well with him

Chris Christie: The former governor of New Jersey has had his name bandied about for a number of administration jobs, including attorney general 

David Bossie: He is the president of Citizens’ United and co-wrote a book with Corey Lewandowski about working on Trump’s campaign

Ayers’ departure stunned some White House aides, who thought he was a virtual shoo-in for the job. 

A source told DailyMail.com in advance of Ayers’ announcement that Trump had made no secret of his intent to give him the appointment.  

But Ayers said no thanks as he told the world in tweet that he’d be departing the administration altogether. He has young children and he and his wife are said to be eager to return to his home state of Georgia. 

Without a Plan B, Trump must now try to bring in top talent at a time when his administration is facing a still-active Russia probe, following court filings that for the first time implicate him in felony campaign finance crimes.

Bloomberg reports that acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker is said to be in consideration, as are former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and David Bossie, Trump’s former deputy campaign manager.

Whitaker served as chief of staff for AG Jeff Sessions before he was forced out. His designation by Trump has drawn protests from Democrats who noted his past criticism of the Mueller probe as well as his role on the board of an invention promotion business that paid a $25 million settlement fine. 

New York Yankees President Randy Levine was mentioned as a wild card pick but told Fox News: ‘I have spoken to nobody about the chief of staff job. I have great respect for the President but am very happy being president of the Yankees.’

Lighthizer and Mnuchin have each indicated they are happy in their current roles. 

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk